Jennifer Barclay

Theatre Performance
Academic Rank: 
Assistant Professor
2825 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Jennifer Barclay is an actor-turned-playwright, formerly based in Chicago and California, and so very happy to be here on faculty at UMD’s department of TDPS. Her plays include The Human Capacity, Plunder, Freedom, NY, The Attic Dwellers, Obscura, Red Helen, Eat It Too and The Exile of Petie DeLarge. Her work has been produced and developed nationally and internationally by Steppenwolf,  La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, International Theatre of Vienna, Moving Arts, Teatro Vista, RedCat, The Edinburgh Fringe, The Kennedy Center, Samuel French, Piven Theatre Workshop, Remy Bumppo, Red Tape, American Theatre Company, Moxie, Stage Left, The Source and Collaboraction, among others.

As an actor, Professor Barclay has performed in Austria, Scotland, Chicago, California and New York, and has toured her one-woman show, Clearing Hedges, nationally and internationally.

Professor Barclay has been the Shank Playwright in Residence at South Coast Rep, and was a member of Center Stage’s inaugural Playwrights Collective for the 2015-16 season. Her play, The Human Capacity, premiered at UMD’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, directed by Michael Dove. With TDPS Associate Professor Leslie Felbain, Jennifer is continuing to develop her play, An Experiment, an interview-based dark comedy about gender parity that was commissioned by UMD’s Department of Physics. With director Logan Vaughn, she is in the midst of traveling between Chicago and New York to develop her new play, Danny, which is set in Chicago’s infamous public housing project, Cabrini-Green. Professor Barclay is a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and she recently won the 2016 Smith Prize for Political Theatre from the National New Play Network. For her Smith Prize commission, she will be developing a new play called RIPE FRENZY with director Margot Bordelon and TDPS professor Jared Mezzocchi. Recent/ upcoming: August 2016 production of TIGHT CURLS TODAY in New York City in the Samuel French OOB Festival (directed by Jessi D. Hill), and September 2016 reading of EAT IT TOO at the Kennedy Center, co-produced by 1st Stage and directed by Everyman Theatre Artistic Associate Johanna Gruenhut.


B.S. in Theatre, Northwestern University, 1999; M.F.A. in Playwriting, University of California at San Diego, 2006.

Areas of Specialization/Interest:

Playwriting, Acting, Viewpoints, Contemporary Drama.

Professional Affiliations:

Current: Member of Center Stage's Playwrights Collective; Member of the Dramatists Guild. Former: Shank Playwright in Residence at South Coast Repertory.

Representative Productions:

Actor: Haymarket Eight at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Twelfth Night at Court Theatre, The Piano at Court Theatre, Blind Tasting at Live Bait, The Mousetrap at The International Theatre of Vienna, The Little Prince at Acadia Repertory Theatre, Guys and Dolls at Peninsula Players. Solo show Clearing Hedges at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The International Theatre of Vienna, San Francisco Fringe, Downstairs Cabaret Theatre and Mary-Arrchie. Playwright: Obscura at Red Tape Theatre Co., Freedom, NY at Teatro Vista, The Exile of Petie DeLarge at RedCat and Son of Semele, Emancipated at The Old Globe, Tight Curls Today at Collaboraction’s Sketchbook Festival, The Golden Ticket at Samuel French OOB Festival, F2F and Minus You at The Source, The Carpool at La Jolla Playhouse, Counterweight at La Jolla Playhouse.

Honors and Awards:

National New Play Network's Smith Prize for Political Theatre, MacDowell Colony Fellow, Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Kennedy Center National Science Playwriting Award, Pinter Review, Final Draft Big Break, Northwestern University’s Mary Margaret Linn Award, Princess Grace finalist, three-time Heideman Award finalist, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts residency, Hawthornden Castle International Writer’s Retreat residency.